Jennie Loitman Barron
(1891 - 1969)
Jennie Loitman Barron's stamina and zeal helped her
achieve success in most of her undertakings: mother,
judge, lawyer, suffragist and community leader.
She was born October 13, 1891, in Boston's West
End to Fannie and Morris Loitman, who were Russian-
Jewish immigrants. Jennie's mother was an outstanding woman. She
knew five languages and soon her home became a meeting place for
new immigrants who needed an interpreter.
Her father was very active in the Jewish community and became a
charter member of the Hebrew Progressive Lodge. Jennie's father was
very proud of her and would take her to meetings to recite poetry to his
Jennie was the third of four daughters of the Loitmans. She earned
at Boston University her A.B., 1911; LL.B., 1913; and her LL.M., 1914.
She was able to work her way through school by teaching
Americanization classes and working in the Women's Educational and Industrial
Union's Department of Law. She was also involved in Boston
University's League for Equal Suffrage. She spoke and lectured for
equal rights for women at many meetings sponsored by this group.
She married Samuel Barron, Jr., a distant relative who had
graduated Harvard Law School on June 23, 1918. They organized a husband
and wife law firm, Barron and Barron. They had three daughters: Erma
in 1919, Deborah in 1923, and Joy in 1931.
The family was a very important part of her life throughout her
career. Friday night dinner at her home to begin the Sabbath was an
ongoing ritual for her and her children. This was part of their Jewish
tradition and culture.
She became president of the Massachusetts Association of Women
Lawyers and organized a successful campaign for women to become
notaries in 1918. She became involved in many campaigns relating to
women. She organized women to exercise their newly won right to
vote, to have uniform laws on marriage and divorce and the right to
serve on juries.
In 1934, she was appointed by the governor as a special justice of
the Western Norfolk District Court. This was to be the beginning of a
thirty-year career as a judge. In 1937, she was named to be an associate
of the Boston Municipal Court and she remained until 1959. She
then became an associate of the Massachusetts Superior Court and the
first woman to hold this position.
During her thirty years as a judge, Barron found time to be active
in the Jewish and non-Jewish communities. She was the first president
of the Women's Auxiliary of Beth Israel Hospital, 1926-29; she served
on the first board of Brandeis University National Women's Committee,
1945-55; first president of the New England Women's Division of
the American Jewish Congress; and she was on the national boards of
Hadassah and the National Conference of Christians and Jews.
A week after their fiftieth wedding anniversary in June 1968,
Samuel Barron died and Jennie died within a year from a heart attack
on March 28, 1969.
Jennie Loitman Barron was one of the early pioneers to struggle for
women's rights in society. Perhaps, if you had asked her what was her
greatest achievement? She would have replied, "Mother of the Year
Award, in 1959."
Sources: This is one of the 150 illustrated true stories of American heroism
included in Jewish Heroes & Heroines of America : 150 True Stories of American Jewish Heroism, © 1996,
written by Seymour "Sy" Brody of Delray Beach, Florida, illustrated
by Art Seiden of Woodmere, New York, and published by Lifetime
Books, Inc., Hollywood, FL.